Cicada Killer Wasp
Cicada Killer Facts
Also known as: cicada killers, cicada hawks, cicada killer wasp, ground hornets and sand hornets
Cicada killer wasps are primarily found in the eastern and midwestern United States, as well as Mexico and South America. Their activity begins in the summer, starting in late June, and lasts until October.
Cicada Killer Identification
Relatively large, Cicada Killers range between ½ to 2 inches long. They have red and black colorations on their backs, as well as yellow stripes on their abdomen. They are often confused for yellow jackets.
Cicada Killer Infestation
These wasps are helpful to humans in that they kill cicadas — insects that are sometimes pests when they feed on plants and trees. However, cicada killer wasp damage includes small holes and dirt mounds throughout your lawn. These burrows are often about 10 inches deep with another 6-inch horizontal tunnel.
The burrows of a large cicada killer infestation may undermine structures like decks and patios. Small grainy piles of soil and small holes with dirt paths, usually in dry, loose soil, are signs that you may have a cicada killer infestation. These wasps only sting if they are really provoked. If the sting causes a severe reaction, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Cicada Killers in the Garden & House
If you live in a warm, dry area, the cicada killer wasps may be buzzing around. You’ll find them at the edges of forests, in gardens, or places where there is debris. They enjoy areas that harbor cicadas, so if you’ve got a lot of trees on your property, these predators may be lurking.
These wasps will dig around patios, gardens and lawns when they are seeking shelter and creating nests. Adult cicada killer wasps feed only on flower nectar and it is their larvae that actually eat cicadas. An adult female will sting and kill a cicada, then bring it back to her nest where she lays her eggs on it. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the cicada until they are fully developed. Their lifespan is usually about about four months.
Since the cicada killer wasp is not particularly dangerous to humans, control often isn’t necessary. However, if they are occurring in large numbers and threatening your property, you might need to take action. If you’ve got a network of tunnels on your lawn, placing a large plastic tarp over the affected area will overheat the ground and also not allow the wasps to return home. If you have a severe problem, contact a pest management company who will have access to a wider range of control methods.
Benefits of Professional Cicada Killer Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a cicada killer wasp problem. Finding and treating the cicada killer nests can be challenging, especially if there are many nests hidden around outside. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the cicada killer wasp infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cicada Killers
Do cicada killers eat cicadas?
These wasps capture and paralyze cicadas for their larvae to feed on once they’ve hatched. The paralyzed cicada is stored in the burrow with an egg deposited on top of it. Adult cicada killer wasps eat only nectar.
Are cicada killers aggressive?
Cicada killers are pretty mellow and will only sting if they are really provoked. They may sting people or pets if their burrows are disturbed. The real cicada killer wasp damage comes from multiple burrows in your lawn, which are not only unsightly, but can sometimes cause structural inefficiencies.